By on January 31, 2012

Bob Lutz took Fox News and other media outlets to task in his latest blog for Forbes, titled “Chevy Volt and the Wrong-Headed Right”, with Lutz taking shots at Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

Lutz’s article lists a number of facts regarding the crash tests and data on vehicle fires. But Lutz does claim that the Volt is

 “…the most technologically advanced car on the planet, was conceived by me and my team well before any federal bailout of GM…”

Whatever you think of the Volt, the damage done by the fire stories is undeniable. While charging a Volt in public this past December, a passerby made a remark warning me to steer clear because “those things catch fire”. The story has undoubtedly permeated the public conscience, regardless or whether it’s legitimate or just hype.

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81 Comments on “Bob Lutz Pens Chevrolet Volt Defence In Forbes...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Grab a beer and pop some popcorn, this is going to be good!

  • avatar
    nearprairie

    I can’t think of anyone better to take on the blathering blowhards and fugly fatasses who have massacred mass media. Here’s hoping for a full-on, face-to-face smack down.

  • avatar
    replica

    Well someone lit a fire under Lutz’s ass.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Political discourse is going to be the downfall of this country, and I’ll be damned if we haven’t had a preview over the past decade.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Spartan,

      I don’t think “political discourse” will be the downfall of the country. The downfall will come about if we continue to elect “progressive socialists” to rule us……..reference; Greece, Italy, Spain, California, NJ, NY, MA.

      Note, while people take pot shots at Fox, O’Reilly and Limbaugh, they fail to take the progressive slanted liberal MSM(ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NY Times, WaPo, etc) to task for their obvious bias. The media is 85-90% liberal as is academia.

      Do I listen to/watch O’Reilly, Limbaugh?…………No I don’t. They do what they do to make money. Period

      As for the Volt, I wouldn’t buy one if they were 25K.

      • 0 avatar
        ttiguy

        I feel bad for you considering your foolish perspective 56BelAire.

        Right on Spartan

      • 0 avatar
        boltar

        It’s become painfully obvious after watching what passes for political discourse in this country that you and your ilk, Spartan, wouldn’t know a real Socialist if he dropped out of a helicopter and landed on your collective heads. How I wish there were actually a few of the real thing around stirring up trouble today, just to see the ensuing mental melt down that would result in the crowd of neurotic windbags promoting their gardens of pure ideology.

        And incidentally, anyone who thinks that a freaking teething problem in any new platform by GM is indicative of a left-wing conspiracy is beyond lunatic. Yes I’m sure that GM, the company that fought CAFE standard and air bags and eliminated trolley lines throughout the US, is part of a leftist cabal. Eventually McCarthy overreached with the crazy claims. There’ a lesson there for the bunch of you.

      • 0 avatar
        MusicMachine

        What are you saying?

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        “Progressive socialist” sounds like an oxymoron. You should probably read up on both terms before you throw them together much like Rush and Bill ‘O like to do.

        As for the media, you cannot possibly be liberal if you insist on hiding the truth from people and allowing corporations to advertise/influence your news. It doesn’t matter which cable news network you get your news from. They’re all horribly biased towards CORPORATE interests, not liberal interests.

        Again, you could do yourself a favor and do some more research because otherwise, you come off as poorly-educated.

        As for the Volt? I’d buy one if it were something I could actually afford. The way I see it, if Bush hadn’t screwed everything up and Obama hadn’t dropped the ball at times, I could get a better job and more money. I try.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        You got that right! Political discourse is only good if it’s from the left. If it’s from the right, it’s dismissed as racism, chauvinism, or some other “isms”

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        boltar: Yes I’m sure that GM, the company that fought CAFE standard and air bags and eliminated trolley lines throughout the US, is part of a leftist cabal.

        If you are going to “educate” us, it might help not to spread falsehoods yourself. There was no conspiracy by GM or anyone else to eliminate tolley lines throughout the U.S.

        The trolley lines were operated at a loss by utilities to help shelter profits. When this practice was severely curtailed by federal law in the 1930s, those companies were only too happy to dump those trolley lines.

        At any rate, ridership had been declining since the 1920s (it only went back up during World War II when gas rationing curtailed private auto use). The idea that people were happily riding trolleys until mean old GM forced them to buy car (or take a GM-manufactured bus) is false. People were abandoning mass transit prior to World War II.

        The court case found GM guilty of trying to force bus lines to use GM BUSES. GM was not found guilty of trying to shut down trolley lines. The lines were losing money, and municipalities wanted rid of the trolley tracks, which made paving more difficult. At any rate, the diffusion of development required a mass transit system that was not tied to one route, as trolley lines were.

        As for air bags, GM fought them because Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook initially wanted them to be used as the PRIMARY restraint system. In other words, they wanted cars equipped with air bags because people, at that time (mid-1970s) were not wearing safety belts.

        GM and other auto companies pointed out that air bags without safety belts were dangerous, and for this they were excoriated by Nader and Claybrook. GM was right – air bags only became feasible when states enacted safety belt laws. I have yet to hear either Nader or Claybrook say that they were wrong. But then, I’m also waiting for the fatality rate to skyrocket now that we have repealed the 65 mph national speed limit, and many states allow people to drive 75-80 mph, as they claimed it would. I’m sure that will happen any year now, even though we repealed it a little over 16 years ago…and those dumb old conservatives and libertarians will sure be eating crow!

        boltar: Eventually McCarthy overreached with the crazy claims. There’ a lesson there for the bunch of you.

        Might help to read the files from the VENONA project. These files have showed that, in fact, Communist infiltration of the United States government was real. Senator McCarthy’s problem was that he was five years too late. First President Truman, and then President Eisenhower, had already cleaned house.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        carguy_2010: As for the media, you cannot possibly be liberal if you insist on hiding the truth from people and allowing corporations to advertise/influence your news. It doesn’t matter which cable news network you get your news from. They’re all horribly biased towards CORPORATE interests, not liberal interests.

        Wrong. The national media tends to reflect the views of the people who work there, and, in most cases, that is slightly to the left on social issues. By and large, mainstream media in this country tends to favor larger government, more regulation and higher taxes – within certain limits. People on the far left are treated as cranks – but lovable cranks, somewhat like that nutty old uncle who rants at your annual summer picnic. People on the right, however, are treated as dangerous extremists.

        If you doubt that, compare the coverage of the Tea Party events to the Occupy Wall Street movement. We were basically told that, any day now, violence would break out at a Tea Party rally, or their (supposedly) violent rhetoric would spur others to action. Why, some members even carried guns to the rally! Which, of course, meant that they were going to go on a shooting spree, or shoot a Democrat, as that is the only reason anyone would carry a gun.

        Except, of course, that this never happened. Meanwhile, actual assaults (including sexual assaults) were occurring in various Occupy sites, and they were vandalizing surrounging property, and this was initially downplayed.

        At the LOCAL level you have more business influence. Hence, the local car dealers are better able to squash stories about, say, unfavorable dealer practices, or the local realtors can pressure the paper not to run stories about how far housing prices in the area have collapsed. But, somehow, I doubt that you were thinking of the Harrisburg Patriot-News when you wrote your post.

        Carguy_2010: Again, you could do yourself a favor and do some more research because otherwise, you come off as poorly-educated.

        Actually, you’re the one who needs to become better informed on this. Usually, when someone starts squawking about “corporate domination” of the media, I know that he or she has not really looked at the issue at all.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      +1

      The United States embarrassed itself – nay, humiliated itself in the world press last Fall with its silly debt ceiling debate. I just couldn’t watch the partisan nitpicking by BOTH sides of the debate. The richest, most powerful nation on Earth is hurtling toward a cliff and the engineers are arguing about what to order for lunch!
      The Volt and vehicles like it offer an opportunity for the United States to stop buying from countries that hate it, and to do so before China buys up all the world’s resources. Or why not just hand over all the patent rights to Japan Inc?
      No, let’s blame decisions GM made during the Dark Days of the twin oil shocks, the foundation of the EPA and crash tests. Ha!
      If the Republicans and Democrats want to argue about their ‘rights’ to buy 5,000 lb SUVs and fuel them with dead dinosaurs, while Rome is burning – well, that certainly is their ‘right.’
      I think I’ll start practicing Mandarin now, thanks.

  • avatar
    car_guy2010

    I’m surprised to see Lutz attacking O’Really and Limburger as the “wrong-headed right”. I always thought Lutz himself was of the conservative mindset.

    That being said, right on! I would never drive a Volt but I see that the criticism comes from people who hate any and all things hybrid. They’re of the persuasion that stick shifts are better than automatics and that their Geo Metro can get better mileage than a hybrid.

    Well, good for you. But, you don’t have a right to slag Prius and Volt owners. This is America, the land of opportunity and all Americans have the right to live life as they see fit as long as it does not encroach the freedom of others. Unfortunately, we still haven’t found the balancing point.

    I never thought I’d see the day but I just have to defend GM here only because the media, especially right-wing talk radio and Faux Noise, will use the fire incidents as ammo against good ‘ol “Gov’t Motors”. They did the same with Toyota recently and Audi in the 1980s.

    You tell them, Maximum Bob!

    • 0 avatar

      No fatcat exec has a “conservative mindset”.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        True but GM in my mind has always been a conservative automaker, mainly due to their penny-pinching and bland designs. They do shake thing up every now and then but it’s hard to let go of those impressions.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        “No fatcat exec has a conservative mindset.”

        Then how come the money’s flowing like an open fire hydrant to conservative politicians ever since Citizens United?

        Would you characterize fatcat execs as having a “progressive” or “liberal” mindset? Care to elaborate for our amusement?

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        Bob Lutz has been working hard into his eighties. Once you beat that, you may be qualified to call him names. Until then, it just makes you look silly.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        tonycd, let me let you in a some dirty little secrets.

        Newsflash – businesses give lots of money to BOTH parties.

        You do realize that President Obama has raised more money from Wall Street than any other candidate? Here is a news story from that right-wing rag, The Washington Post:

        “Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.

        “Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in his reelection effort.

        “As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all the other GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data. The numbers show that Obama retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four years ago.”

        Here’s another story:

        “In fact, the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks lobbyist spending and influence in both parties, found that President Obama has received more money from Bank of America than any other candidate dating back to 1991.An examination of the numbers shows that Obama took in $421,242 in campaign contributions in 2008 from Bank of America’s executives, PACs and employees, which exceeded its prior record contribution of $329,761 to President George W. Bush in 2004.

        “According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street firms also contributed more to Obama’s 2008 campaign than they gave to Republican nominee John McCain.

        ‘The securities and investment industry is Obama’s second largest source of bundlers, after lawyers, at least 56 individuals have raised at least $8.9 million for his campaign,’ Massie Ritsch wrote in a Sept. 18, 2008 entry on the Center for Responsive Politics’s OpenSecrets blog.

        “By the end of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, executives and others connected with Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS AG, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, poured nearly $15.8 million into his coffers.”

        I hope that you also realize that unions are among the biggest spenders when it comes to campaigns:

        “The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is now the biggest outside spender of the 2010 elections, thanks to an 11th-hour effort to boost Democrats that has vaulted the public-sector union ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and a flock of new Republican groups in campaign spending.

        “The 1.6 million-member AFSCME is spending a total of $87.5 million on the elections after tapping into a $16 million emergency account to help fortify the Democrats’ hold on Congress. Last week, AFSCME dug deeper, taking out a $2 million loan to fund its push. The group is spending money on television advertisements, phone calls, campaign mailings and other political efforts, helped by a Supreme Court decision that loosened restrictions on campaign spending.

        “‘We’re the big dog,” said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME’s political operations. “But we don’t like to brag.’”

        Now, granted, some people are dumb enough to believe that unions are somehow now protecting their own interests at the expense of the rest of us. One can only hope and pray that no one on this site is that stupid in 2012.

        Here’s another newsflash: both political parties depend heavily on rich people to raise funds for campaigns.

        As for how would I characterize fatcat execs as having a “progressive” or “liberal” mindset? Easy. Living in the real world, I realize that executives are like lots of liberals and conservatives – they tailor their views to whatever is convenient or profitable for them or their companies at the moment.

    • 0 avatar
      Duncan

      I read Lutz’s article as an attack on the “ends justify the means” style of some conservative media, especially when those means are intentional falsification of facts.

      Lutz reaffirmed that he is a conservative and took a swing a liberals and global warming in his article. I don’t think he’s looking to change his political affiliation – he’s just tired of his Volt getting unjustly dragged through the mud.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        If he doesn’t take global warming seriously, then why did he push GM to produce the Volt?

        I think that ‘ol Bob is confused here. If GM really didn’t give 2 shits about global warming, they wouldn’t even consider the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      What exactly is a ‘conservative mindset?’ It is possible to be fiscally conservative, while being socially liberal, or vice versa.
      The real issue with politics today is that an increasing majority of the public cannot be pigeon-holed into traditional ‘left’ or ‘right’ dogma. It is possible to be a capitalist, but to accept the idea that since avarice (and I use that word here and not the lesser ‘greed’ because what banks continue to do today is destroying the very fabric of the West) is part of human nature, government intervention is inevitable.
      Issues that 40 years ago guaranteed a visceral reaction from the public (gay marriage, for example) are no longer the hot topics they once were. Both the ‘left’ and ‘right’ are grappling with finding their traditional hard core base.
      It is unfortunate for GM that the Volt had to come along at a time when the body politic is determined to turn the vehicle into an ideological instrument to bludgeon the other side.
      But you so-called auto enthusiasts just sit back and enjoy the show: Korea Inc and China Inc are about to eat your lunch.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        True auto enthusiasts appreciate good design, regardless of where it originates. Just as people are “over” gay marriage, people who have at least a rudimentary understand of both economics and the the global auto industry are “over” whether a car comes from Japan or South Korea.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        people who have at least a rudimentary understand of both economics and the the global auto industry are “over” whether a car comes from Japan or South Korea

        I’m not sure I agree. There’s a reasonable argument (in terms of economics, and while less so in terms of cars, the environment) to be made for keeping as much of your money in your local economy as possible.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        If your a member of a special interest – the UAW, or management of an automobile company – you want protection. Average car buyers, of course, benefit from free trade. If not for free trade, for example, we would still be driving junk made by the Big Three. Foreign competition forced them to clean up their act.

        This has been proven repeatedly in other sectors of the economy. The question is whether one stands with special interests or consumers. The interesting part is how many people squawk about fat-cat executives and the “rich” while supporting special interests who are also detrimental to the interests of the average person just because said special interest happens to be, say, a union.

  • avatar

    Lutz clearly took the failure of Volt personally. Perhaps he is seeing Volt as a major part of his legacy at GM. Too bad.

    BTW, Rush was the biggest fanboi of GM before the bailout. It was all about the patriotism and buing American, and how GM would smell like a rose and produce world-class vehicles if not for those nasty unions. Now Lutz comes and says that Volt was conceived by that wonderful GM of Rush’s dreams.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Rush’s change of heart, vis-a-vis GM, coincided more with the election of a Democrat than with the bailout itself. Remember, the negotiations for the bailouts (aka the Congressional hearings) happened before the election. That Bush approved the first round of bailout money after the election made it that much easier for Limbaugh to rail against.

      Conservative theology aside, the reality is that a President McCain, faced with the situation at the time, would have ultimately pushed for something similar (remember, he was the candidate who elected to suspend his campaign to return to D.C. in September). Now the McCain version probably wouldn’t have been so favorable to Labor, meaning that the same money would have been laid out, but the Limbaughs of the world would have declared it “compassionate” while the Schultz’s of the world would be the ones railing against the bailout and it’s anti-labor elements.

      Two sides of the same sh!t sandwich if you ask me.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Finfrock

      Rush was relatively tame in his praise of pre-bailout General Motors, compared to Sean Hannity. The latter was likely cheaper to “buy.”

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      “Failure of the Volt…”

      Gee, are we not rushing the pronouncement just a bit?

      The Prius was launched in Japan ONLY, in 1997.

      First year sales were a paltry 3,000.
      Second year sales 17,700.
      1999 sales 15,200.
      2000, launched worldwide 19,000. (5,800 in N.A.)

      What’s that? The Volt sold 8,700 in its first year?

      Still beat the Prius by any measure.

      • 0 avatar
        NN

        Thank you, carbiz. This message isn’t clarified enough for the people who call/wish for a premature failure. The car is a technological marvel and if GM has the balls and funds to continue investing in what they’ve started, Gen 2 will be better, prices will come down, people will start buying more in volume, and the end result of adoption of this kind of technology (and other electric/hybrid vehicles) is that we wean ourselves off of our heavy liquid petroleum diet. This is good for our country and the world in every way, yet people can’t see through their shortsighted hate of GM, the government, etc.

        IMO, this is the most revolutionary and best car an American company has brought to market in ages. Just pretend, if you have to, that it has a Hyundai badge on it, and think of how you see it now.

        I am conservative when it comes to politics (economically at least), and while not a fan of the bailouts in principle, I don’t believe there is an existing large car company on this planet that hasn’t at some point in time received assistance from it’s native government in some shape or form.

        Lutz is the man to step forward and challenge the media mouths, they will shy away from him on this. I would like to see them go face to face on the respective programs, might make it worth watching for once.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Now for the spin-free version.

        Here are the relevant numbers. GM initially predicted 10,000 sales for the Volt, and first-year sales failed to reach that goal by a fair margin.

        What the Prius sold in its first year is irrelevant. GM, at least, thought so when it forecast the Volt’s sales figures.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Jeez Louise…

        Carbiz: “Failure of the Volt…
        Gee, are we not rushing the pronouncement just a bit?
        The Prius was launched in Japan ONLY, in 1997.
        First year sales were a paltry 3,000.
        Second year sales 17,700.
        1999 sales 15,200.
        2000, launched worldwide 19,000. (5,800 in N.A.)
        What’s that? The Volt sold 8,700 in its first year?
        Still beat the Prius by any measure.”

        First, where did you get those numbers? Because they are wrong.

        The Prius launched in December of 1997 and sold 300 units in 1997. The Volt launched in December 0f 2010 and sold about 300 units in 2010. Month 1 is a tie.

        The Prius sold 17.7K units in its first full calendar year, 1998. The Volt sold 7.6K units in its first full calendar year, 2011. In a very appropriate comparison period, the 2nd through 13th months, the first full calendar year for each, the Prius outsold the Volt by better than 2 to 1.

        It’s true the Prius sales declined a little in 1999 (still in the far smaller JDM). However, the Volt’s January sales rang in at 603, so the Volt is on pace to continue to be beaten by a factor of 2 to 1.

        Further, the Prius was unique in 1997. The Insight beat it to the US market, as I recall, but these two vehicles were the only gas-electric powertrains on the market. Nobody knew what this kind of car was and nobody had driven or seen one. I don’t know how often you check your watch but it’s now 2012 and a whole new ball game. The Volt doesn’t have the luxury of competing against the 1997 Prius. People drive plenty of cars with gas-electric powertrains, they’re not longer curiosities.

        I’m willing to say that it’s too early to declare the Volt a failure but it certainly didn’t “beat the Prius by any measure” and right now it’s absolutely losing the war.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Fine, you want to juggle the numbers around. It still adds up to the same. I guess it depends on whether you want to look at GM (and Detroit, by extension) by a ‘glass half empty,’ or ‘glass half full’ lens.
        The Volt sold nearly 18k units in its FIRST FULL YEAR against established (and cheaper) competitions from the Fusion, Prius, Leaf and others…. that is the ‘glass half full’ prism.

        You’ve already established the other side.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        carbiz,

        Are you on drugs? GM hasn’t even built 18K Volts yet. Total cumulative Volt sales to date are 8600 (that is 14 months).

        The 2nd-13th month comparison is perfectly useful and puts both vehicles on a level playing field. We could also happily compare first 13 months (news flash: Volt loses that by 2 to 1, too, 18K Priuses to 8K Volts).

        For anything else, we’re going to need monthly figures, which I don’t happen to have for the Prius. You are free to dig them up. Wiki has a yearly breakdown in their main Prius article, for your convenience and edification.

        The Volt is being embarassed by the Prius and, now, the Prius V. It can’t even match the 14-year-ago sales of the 1998 JDM-only Prius. It isn’t beating any Prius by any measure.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The Volt sold nearly 18k units”

        You should inform GM of this feat. Their numbers don’t indicate that at all.

        US volt sales
        January 2012 – 603
        All of 2011 – 7671
        All of 2010 – 326

        Total US – 8600

        Canada sales for 2011 totaled 275. The January 2012 Canada sales aren’t out yet, but I’m pretty sure that they don’t total the 9,000 units that they would need to be in order for you to be correct.

        http://media.gm.com/content/dam/Media/gmcom/investor/2012/0201Deliveries.pdf

        http://investor.gm.com/sales-production/docs/sales_prod/11_12/DeliveriesDecember2011.pdf

        http://media.gm.ca/content/Pages/news/ca/en/2012/Jan/0104_Sales_December/_jcr_content/rightpar/download/file.res/01-04-12%20December%20Sales-En.pdf

  • avatar
    noxioux

    Compare apples to apples, and put Toyota’s unintended acceleration bumps and bruises against Lutz hurt feelings about the Volt. The level of media lambasting and governmental witch-hunting against Toyota FAR outweighed a comparatively mild treatment of the Volt.

    I really don’t believe you can attribute the HUGE gap in sales between the Volt and Prius to unfounded fears about problems with the car(s). Fact is, nobody wants the Volt. Proof is in the pudding. Get over it, Bob.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The Volt is a technological wonder. Agreed.

    The Volt was in development long before the bankruptcy. Agreed.

    The Volt became the poster child of what GM could bring to market if its bailout proceeded, so that GM could “build cars that Americans want to buy”. That is what happened.

    The problems I have with this approach were:
    a) The bailout was to help GM return to profitability, but under most conditions, the Volt will lose money, and
    b) Americans don’t really want to buy cars like the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      acuraandy

      I know how this will be responded to, however, even as Gen ‘Why’, and a lifelong car guy, here’s a few observations.

      1) If gas was sub $2-gal, you would see more Suburbans/Tahoes/Expeditions/Tundras/Sequoias on the road. Throw in all the tech you want, MASS WINS IN A CAR ACCIDENT, bar none.

      2) Yes, the Volt, although a tech marvel (which I have repeatedly spoken against), IS NOT A CAR MOST AMERICANS WANT. Sorry, but it just isn’t; and sales prove this point.

      3) GM should’ve focused on large, V8 powered cars from Australia (since us Yankees can’t build one anymore) for the masses. However, this ties into point #1. What is so wrong with a car that gets 30mpg/hwy that has 400hp and 8 cylinders? Oh right, the green lobby.

      4) I once had a great deal of respect for Mr. Lutz. This article however proves that he is one of ‘them’ (think Obama, Romney, the old GM bosses, etc. He obviously doesn’t give a shit about the consumer, or the Volt would have been DOA).

      Go retire and fly your jets, sir, and STFU.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Bob Lutz” is to “blame the media for everything” as “conservative pundit” is to “blame Obama for everything”.

  • avatar
    kenzter

    About damn time someone (besides TTAC) called them out. Too bad it won’t make the evening news.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    And if O’Reilly and Limbaugh weren’t such pansies they’d invite me on their shows.

  • avatar
    daviel

    I don’t see the “fat cat” execs as all that conservative after their grasping for government money to avoid going out of business. Frankly I see the government bailouts as a good example of how government and business can work together. I’m glad nobody went under. So I do not think one can categorize these execs as Limbaugh and O’Reilley acolytes. They are here because of government action, not in the right-wing alternate universe but in the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      You know, to be clear, GM ran out of cash at a time when the banks themselves were bankrupt, and the U.S. car market plunged nearly in half.
      Against that backdrop, what company on Earth could have survived? No business on this planet is as capital intensive (both for new products and for purchasing said products) as the auto business. Ford hocked the family jewels in 2006 because it was on the precipice 2 years earlier than GM. If GM had borrowed the cash in early 2008 (when it had something like $32B in reserves, I believe) it wouldn’t have needed the ‘bailout.’
      And it will be up to Washington to decide when to cash in its chips and whether or not the taxpayer is on the hook for ANY of the ‘bailout.’
      The usual suspects are, as usual, jumping the gun to sharpen their axes.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “Against that backdrop, what company on Earth could have survived?”

        Ummm… Ford, Toyota, Honda, VW, Nissan… There are probably others that don’t occur to me right now.

  • avatar
    mzr

    Nobody gets a pass just for completing their work. The Volt was a joke from the start, GM promised all kinds of things and one by one it was proven that they overpromised. One car does not dissolve all the sins of the past, either.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Finfrock

      The Volt debacle reminds me of how I was able to pass my senior year Physics class with a solid “B.” I was a strong student, but I couldn’t wrap my head around that subject at all. (Still can’t.) Fully 50% of our final grade was dependent on a school science project. Since I had once launched model rockets, I chose “Aerodynamics in Rocketry.” I bought some cheap Estes rockets, each with different nose cone and fin sizes. I built and weighed them, and I planned to launch each one several times to measure which designs and weights flew the highest.

      Months of procrastination went by (senior year, remember) until the last weekend before the project was due. Springtime in New Mexico… when it was much too windy outside to launch a single rocket. So, I did what any enterprising student would do. I faked the results.

      The day of the science fair, I set up my posterboard display listing my falsified flight times and altitudes. While most of the other students milled around, I stayed with my display, and I looked the judges squarely in the eyes as I convincingly answered all of their questions.

      Not only did I get an “A” on the project, but I also took first place in the science fair. A few of my fellow students may have suspected what was up, but it didn’t matter. They weren’t the audience I was playing to. Robert Preston would have been proud.

      GM tried to do much the same thing with the Volt, with similar results. The company bullshitted its way into the hybrid market with a design that’s much less efficient than a Toyota Prius, except for a very small number of short-distance commuters. GM then looked Congress in the eye while saying it was the wave of the future, thus justifying the billions of dollars of taxpayer cash used to support the failed company, and its (remedial) science fair project.

      And it worked for them, I have to admit.

      Except the Volt is not the wave of the future. While GM was able to con the government, sales results show the company has been once again unable to convince the general public (a group only marginally more intelligent than most lawmakers, I’ll grant you) that the Volt is anything more than a less efficient, more expensive, flimsier Prius. No matter what Bobbo says — no matter how correct he may be, even — it doesn’t matter. The Volt will die, and its failed legacy will further mire GM in its same historical bog of mediocrity.

      But GM never planned to make a profit selling Volts; instead — much like Harold Hill, or a desperate high school Physics student — it successfully conned us all by selling the idea.

      (On a related note, I’d like to thank Bobbo for inspiring me to change my avatar.)

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I think GM (and Lutz particularly) likes to gloss over the fact that they overhyped and overpromised this car to an extreme degree. It was supposed to be 40miles electric and Prius fighting mileage in charge sustaining mode.* The concept had sports car proportions. It turned out to be a visually nose heavy, ~35 mi range, and 32mpg after that while pushing the upper $30k range AFTER $7500 of tax credits. How can he be upset that people aren’t impressed when he makes all sorts of promises and it never really lives up?

      * Claims of 640 miles on a tank & charge, 12 gallon tank in 2007 before the production one was shown. 40 miles on a charge means 600 miles on gas on 12 gallons meaning 50 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The Volt was a home run product when it was conceived.

      Recall what 2005-06 looked like. Gas prices were hitting new record highs weekly with no end in sight. The economy was on fire, employment was full, the HELOC ATM was open for business.

      They could have sold half a million of them a year in that market. Even if it did run 35 miles instead of 50.

      Of course all of that fell apart in 2008, in the market we’ve actually got the Volt can’t succeed no matter how many miles it goes on a charge. But killing a green car is politically impossible when the California delegation are your new owners, so they have no choice but to continue throwing good money after bad.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      The car itself is indeed a technological marvel. The only problem is it’s overpriced. There is a ceiling on how much volume you could achieve with a $40k car. And before you start with the tax credit- you have to realize that people who are eyeballing the Volt, most likely make enough money to be in the AMT territory- so the tax benefit will be much reduced.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        “The car itself is indeed a technological marvel.”

        It really isn’t, no matter how earnestly GM and its assorted fanboiz try to proclaim otherwise. It’s just an electric car (technology that’s been available in some form for over a century) with a gas generator onboard, and some flashy dashboard displays inside.

        The Volt is an absolute failure. With only 603 sales in the month of January and dealers flat-out REFUSING to put them on their lots, one wonders when GM will finally admit what the market has been screaming at them. The Volt is the SCOAMF of the automotive realm, and it’s time for the General to cut its losses.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    I know you guys at TTAC get a boner to published in the Wall Street Journal because of its readership but you guys have it all over Forbes, and the print media, and you are liberal.

    Forbes has become a joke, it is no longer run but the family, but it had gone downhill for years. I am a conservative guy, cant stand the Marxist Obama, but Forbes and the WSJ and lately Fox News, yes Fox News! have shifted to sucking the liberal jizz ever so slightly.

    Must be affraid of Obama.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I’m a conservative, too, but I must say that what passes for journalism at Fox News is ridiculous. Leftist CNN does a much better job of being fair and balanced than ‘fair and balanced’ Fox.

      Can’t speak for the WSJ or Forbes. I’m one of those rare people who gets their news from NPR, CNN, and yes, Fox News (online only; the TV stuff is unwatchable).

      However, I’m not sure how you’d call TTAC ‘liberal’, unless you’re referring to social policy or some such thing. Around here, I detect a somewhat rightward or libertarian slant (which used to be considered ‘mainstream’, by the way), but not a lot of liberal. I do enjoy the B&B banter coming from all perspectives, which is one of the main reasons I stick around.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        +1 gslippy. I find that NPR is the only place that makes an effort at depth and balance. I gave up on WSJ once NewsCorp decided that they would only make political donations to Republicans. I don’t think that news outlets should make any donations, but if you’re going to donate you’ve got to spread it around evenly.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Well, I’m no bleeding heart liberal nor am I a wrongheaded rightwinger since I have voted for both sides of the political spectrum as an Independent. So the ‘wrong-headed right’ is crap since liberals aren’t buying them either.

        But what is overlooked here is that long before Bloomberg first reported that the Volt caught fire after the NHTSA crash test, the Volt didn’t sell worth a damn, to anyone. Not liberals, not rightwingers, not Independents.

        One of the problems with the Volt, no matter how advanced it is, is that the people who buy them have an income much greater than mine, and buy the Volt as a toy, aka a second or third car.

        The Volt is not a people’s car. Nor will it ever be. Just like any Tesla is not going to be people’s car either.

        Now, the Prius! There is a people’s car, and with more than a million copies sold over the past ten years, that proves it.

        I still don’t want one. Don’t believe in them. Just like most people don’t believe in them. There will be plenty of gas in the future. Fear not. (And I don’t care about the price of gas. It beats walking.)

        But I do believe that the Volt should be available in the market place for anyone who wants to buy one. And GM can do that. The taxpayers have underwritten this folly with the bail outs and nationalization.

        It can’t fail. It will not fail. As long as there are tax payers, GM will soldier on, even if it never makes a profit on anything. It doesn’t have to. It is government-owned and anything government doesn’t have to make a profit.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        Apparently needs repeating:

        First year sales of the Prius were 3,000.

        And since we love anecdotes, I know one person with a Volt. It is his only car, and he traded in an Audi A4 for it.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      Here we go again with poorly-informed conservative name-calling. You should know that REAL marxists and socialists REJECT Obama. He is a corporate moderate. I dare to call him “Shrub Jr.” because we’re not much better off than we were when that eyesore was in the WH.

  • avatar

    I can’t get enough of Maximum Bob. He’s not right on all counts, but he really knows the car industry. I mean, how can you not trust a guy who constantly has a cigar in his mouth?

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    I fear that Maximum Bob is about to find out that there is little future is poking a stick at guys who have control over microphones, no matter what the facts are.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    The real truth is that Rush’s or Hannity’s comments had little effect on GM’s fortunes and vice-versa. I was and am against the government bailing out ANY failing companies. But since they have already done so, I wish both GM and Chrysler the best. Furthermore, I think it is TOO EARLY to call the Volt a failure. IF the price of a Volt can be brought down to compete with gasoline or diesel-powered cars, then it may sell in large quantities. Until then, it won’t. The trick will be to get and keep the product selling in sufficient numbers to justify its existence. The gasoline engine had to conquer steam powered cars to become the norm, and the Volt will have to conquer the gasoline/diesel engines, hydrogen cell power, compressed natural gas, and all other comers to succeed. Perhaps selling the platform in China will give it enough volume to make it work. Until then, they are
    “losing money on every car, but making it up on volume”. <— LOL joke

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I fail to see the efficiency in having a little four banger that burns premium gas twisting an AC generator that charges the battery to power the electric motor that turns the wheels.

      If that is state of the art, so be it. But once you have exceeded the limited range of the battery-only mode, that is exactly what you have: a little four-banger that burns premium gas twisting an AC generator that charges the battery to power the electric motor that turns the wheels.

      How about a Cruze with a little four-banger that burns regular gas powering a six-speed automatic or CVT that turns the wheels? And the Cruze would probably be lighter too, with more room inside.

      If this is the wave of the future, I’d have to go with a Prius. Any Prius.

      • 0 avatar
        mzr

        The efficiency is you can have the gas engine turn at a steady state. No idling, or losses through acceleration/deceleration. It also extends the life of the engine, it is part of the reason why stationary engines last so long.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        mzr, the Volt’s AC generator engine adjusts its rpm depending on the need for energy once battery power has dropped below the threshold.

        So it is that a Volt cruising at 35mph over flat terrain under light load will have its generator engine operating at a different rpm range than if it were to be climbing up-hill under heavy load.

        Under heavy load in mountainous terrain the Volt’s generator engine has been likened to a screaming banshee, just like a Diesel-Electric locomotive roars when under heavy load, even when going slow.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “IF the price of a Volt can be brought down to compete with gasoline or diesel-powered cars, then it may sell in large quantities”

    People are leasing Volts for around $300 a month right now. That doesn’t seem all that expensive to me, especially if gas goes past $4 a gallon this summer.

    “I fear that Maximum Bob is about to find out that there is little future is poking a stick at guys who have control over microphones, no matter what the facts are.”

    Yep!

  • avatar
    Disaster

    The fires aren’t the only problem with the Volt. The Volt just does not stack up well against the Prius.

    1. The Prius is a Toyota and has a history of incredible reliability.
    2. The Prius seats 5 vs. the Volt’s 4.
    3. The Prius costs considerably less and doesn’t require tax incentives to compete.

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Has anyone seen Glenn Beck’s position on the Volt? It would be the last piece of insanity with respect to conspiracy theories.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Toyota is so far the only company to truly master hybrid technology and market it effectively to the American market. There have been many competing standards to gas-electric/electric/soft hybrid/electric with gas assist…

    In the current American infrastructure, most people would do best with a gas-electric hybrid. A plug in option would work for those who drive short distances or have charging facilities at work.

    Overall Toyota’s systems are so transparent, that for the most part a modern hybrid doesn’t penalize you when you need to use it as a car. And that’s where the Volt fails. It’s a crappy gasoline car when the battery runs dry, limiting its use to the most dedicated faithful and that’s where we run into problems with electic cars like the Leaf. The Leaf (and to a lesser extent the Volt) is a great idea, but unless you can charge the damn thing everywhere you go, or don’t go far, you’re SOL. It’s great if a state like California waste/set aside millions of taxpayer dollars so that the handful of Volt/Leaf owners can charge their toys everywhere they go, but realistically despite all of the blatherings of the politicians, these things are driven by market demands and not the government forcing them on us.

    And that’s why Toyota has done so well… People are actually choosing to buy a hybrid with no government intervention or coercion.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “$300?! Somebody’s getting zoomed; the 3-year end-of-lease purchase price is probably $30k. Some bargain.”

    I guess I didn’t know you were obligated to buy at the end of the lease…..LOL

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      He said “somebody” is getting zoomed, not the lessee.

      Maybe you don’t recall what happened a couple of years ago, when GM went belly-up? One of the problems they had at that time was a glut of used SUVs on the market that weren’t worth their residuals. As I recall, the lessors had a claim on GM for the missing value.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I think the Volt is very cool and I don’t care a whit about political criticism, one way or another – it’s all baloney and wrong every way. Perhaps it’s just over-priced? I hope it is a success. After all, Toyota took a bath on its Prius for many years. Any new tech takes time to work its way into the mainstream.

    May it eventually be successful.

    BTW, I’m not a GM fanboy, as I like many new cars out there, I’m just a happy Chevy owner for right now.

  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    Chevy is going through the same pains Microsoft went through with Vista. Unfortunately marketing is everything and if you plunk a product into a market that isn’t willing to accept it at a price it’s not willing to pay, you’ll end up stuck with something no one wants.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “The fires aren’t the only problem with the Volt. The Volt just does not stack up well against the Prius.”

    Not single Volt has started on fire in the real world. But I bet if look I could easily find a Prius that has. Oh here’s one right here. That took all of a minute!……LOL

    http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20100424-NEWS-4240319

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Is this the same Bob Lutz who not so long ago pooh-poohed Hybrid cars as ‘flash in the pan’? He maybe right in this instance, but certainly in the category of ‘stop clock’.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    I can’t believe a word Lutz says when it comes to the Volt, since he’s told so many outright lies and distortions about it.

    1) It will do 0-60 in under 6 seconds
    2) It will outsell the Prius
    3) It will be cleaner (“greener”) than the Prius
    4) The motor NEVER drives the wheels
    5) It will get better MPG than the Prius even when using the gas engine.

    And the list goes on and on and on.

    Sorry Lutz…..you are full of it….

    Time to retire…..

  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    “the most technologically advanced car on the planet, was conceived by me and my team well before any federal bailout of GM”

    “me and my team”

    thats a little big headed isnt it.


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